Ten days removed from his visit to Braves eye doctors, Dan Uggla is getting results with his new contact lenses - he hit his first home run wearing them Sunday – but he has learned there’s not going to be an overnight fix to his vision issues.
Uggla is still in the process of testing new contacts, trying a new pair every two to three days.
“We’re still trying to find the right prescription,” said Uggla, who was first diagnosed with astigmatism in spring training. “With astigmatism your muscles work harder and then it’s like they change. I’m just going to keep going until I find the one that’s perfect, then wear those the rest of the season, then get LASIK at the end of the season.”
Uggla is trying to put off LASIK surgery until the offseason so he can avoid a two-week stint on the disabled list. In the meantime, the difficulty comes in the inconsistency he’s getting with his contacts from one moment to the next.
“It’ll be blurry and all of a sudden a couple times it’ll be really clear,” Uggla said. “The first at-bat (Friday) I was almost seeing double, but then the next few cleared up.”
Uggla struck out in his first at-bat Friday against Arizona then got two hits in his final three at-bats, including a triple to right center. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run on Sunday during a day game, when he said he has an easier time seeing the ball anyway.
“That’s just the way it’s going to go,” said Uggla, who said he’ll continue tweaking. “I’m going to keep at it because I’m going to get it right. It’s a new battle, new challenge.”
In general, Uggla said the contacts are helping and the numbers back it up. Uggla’s two-run home run Sunday was his first since June 9. He is hitting .296 (8-for-27) in eight games since he started wearing contacts, with two doubles, one triple, five RBIs and six walks to go with 10 strikeouts. He has raised his season batting average from .194 to .205, getting it up over .200 for the first time since early May.
Gonzalez reaction: Tim Hudson didn’t appreciate being taken out of Saturday’s game after 5 2/3 innings and blew off steam in his post-game interview about it. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Sunday he would have preferred Hudson didn’t voice his displeasure through the media but didn’t have any problem with the sentiment.
“Huddy is a hell of a competitor,” Gonzalez said. “He is one of the guys that in a battle or a big game you want him on the mound. I’m fine with that.”
Hudson had given up his second two-run lead of the day on a two-run home run by A.J. Pollock on his 100th pitch, but he wanted a chance to get the final out of the inning against No. 8 hitter Didi Gregorius. He wanted a chance to figure into the decision.
“I don’t mind that,” Gonzalez said. “…We’ve got to make decisions and sometimes they’re tough decisions. But you want guys that want to take the ball and want to be out there.”
Hudson is in the midst of a career-long winless streak, which feeds into his frustration. He is 0-6 with a 4.50 ERA over his past 10 starts. He’s gotten only 2.1 runs of support per nine innings during that stretch. His previous’ career-long winless streak came in 2002 with Oakland when he went 0-4 with a 5.90 ERA in eight starts.
“I would have liked the opportunity to have a decision,” Hudson had said after Saturday’s game. “One hundred pitches for me - that’s not really a magic number to take you out of the game. You work real hard the whole game and there’s one pitch that a guy puts a good swing on a pitch away and ties the ballgame up. Apparently you need 16 years in the big leagues to get that chance.”
Hudson, who is in his 15th season, is 4-7 on the season.
Schafer, Gattis: Jordan Schafer did some light running Sunday and said his right ankle is improving but he’s still not comfortable enough to run fullspeed. But he’s hoping with the day off Monday, he’ll be ready to return Tuesday against the Marlins.
Evan Gattis said his oblique is getting better and he hopes to begin taking some dry swings Tuesday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday but won’t be ready as he’s used nearly the full two weeks just to rest his sore side muscle.
Beachy watch: Brandon Beachy continues to progress in his throwing program as he revs back up after 10 days off to rest some elbow inflammation. Beachy threw his second consecutive bullpen Sunday, a good indication of how his elbow responded to his first work off the mound on Saturday. Beachy said Sunday morning his elbow felt good and had responded well coming off his first light bullpen. The Braves will continue to gauge how he feels day to day before laying out plans to get him back out on another minor league assignment.
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